How to Connect Surround Sound to a TV

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Updated February 11, 2023

Many of the best TVs prioritize visual components over digital audio. Because TVs typically lack a tremendous internal speaker system, many choose to install their sound systems. In this article, we show you how to connect surround sound to a TV so that you can enjoy the very best audio experience.


  • Before setup, check for the proper input cable for your audio device.
  • Speakers need to be adjusted, placed in the right areas, and tested for optimal sound quality.
  • Surround speakers are a great way to boost your audio experience.

And if you have a wireless setup, we can show you how to make a TV Bluetooth accessible. Additionally, to ensure your viewing experience is as good as your audio experience, always know how far away you should sit from your TV. Also, remember that if you pick a TV that is the appropriate size for your room. When looking at the TV sizes, you may come across some that say ’40” class’ for example. If you don’t know what that means, don’t worry, we also have an article on what class means on TV.

How to Connect a TV to Surround Sound

Not all surround sound speaker systems are made the same. So make sure to consult your specific systems user manual. That said, below are the general steps to set up an external speaker system.

Insider Tip

For best audio results, angle the front speakers towards the area where the viewers will be sitting.

STEP 1 Plan the Speaker Layout and Setup

  1. First, think about how you want to set up your speakers around your viewing area.
  2. Not all surround sound AV receivers connect to TVs the same way. So, examine your receiver and your TV to ensure you have the correct audio input/output mechanisms on both devices. Typically, you’ll need either an HDMI port or RCA jacks. It may take an optical digital cable if you have a newer system.
  3. Get all the necessary wires together. You’ll need a speaker wire to connect the speakers to the receiver and an HDMI, RCA cable, or optical cable to connect the receiver to the TV.
  4. Turn off your TV and make sure it’s fully unplugged from the wall outlet.
  5. Arrange your speakers around the room as you see fit. Sometimes the surround sound system will label which speakers should go to the left or right of the TV.
  6. Set up the stereo receiver close to the TV, ensuring that it’s close to the power source.

STEP 2 Connect Speakers and Run Wire

  1. Connect the speaker wires. If you bought a complete system, you should have everything you need, but you’ll need to purchase your wires if you bought your system in separate pieces. If you’re buying bare speaker wire, make sure to buy 10-15% extra in case there are any unexpected obstacles during setup.
  2. Run the wire to the receiver. Many choose to hide wires by running them under the carpet, but you can also purchase wire floor covering and run it along the room’s edges. You can look here for a guide on how to run your wires on a wall. As a reminder, make sure to leave enough slack so as not to stress the cables.
  3. Connect each speaker’s wires as stated in your manual. Then, plug in your subwoofer directly into your receiver. And for a more in-depth guide, you can check out how to connect speakers to your TV with speaker wire.

STEP 3 Connect AV Receiver and Test Sound

  1. Finally, plug in your receiver and connect any source devices you want to run on your surround sound system. Then, connect the stereo receiver to the TV’s audio output, plug in your TV, and enjoy your new audio system. You can use your remote control to play with the audio settings to achieve the best sound quality.


AV receivers need ventilation and can get hot. So, be sure to keep it somewhere that air can flow freely and not in a tight space or a drawer.


Can you connect a TV to a receiver without HDMI?

While HDMI is the most common way to connect a receiver and TV, you can also use RCA cables. This will depend on the type of connection your receiver and TV share.

What is needed for a surround sound system?

A surround sound setup usually consists of at least five speakers, one of which is a subwoofer.  Theater systems will include a left and right speaker, as well as left and right rear speakers, a center channel speaker, and a subwoofer. Surround speakers setup like this is usually referred to as 5.1 Surround Sound. There are some systems that have additional speakers as well for more immersive audio.

What’s the difference between an AV receiver and a stereo receiver?

A stereo amplifier receives only an audio signal and does not handle video input. An AV amplifier will receive both an audio and video signal.

STAT: The height of tweeter speakers should be about 2 feet above ear level. (source)

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